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    Jacquinot Bay Airfield East New Britain Province Papua New Guinea (PNG)
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RAAF April 9, 1945

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RAAF July 3, 1945

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RNZAF August 18, 1945

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RNZAF c1945

Location
Lat 5° 36' 30" S Long 151° 31' 30" E. Located on the prewar Palmalmal plantation, along Jacquinot Bay. The village of Manginuna is due east. Also know as "Jacquinot Bay" or "Jacquinot Bay Drome" or "Jacquinot Bay Field".

Construction
The area was liberated by Australian Army during November 1944. Built by the Australian Army with construction work was done by the Australian Army 2/3 Railway Construction Company and the 17th Field Company RAE. In February 1945, RAAF No. 1 Airfield Construction Squadron, began expansion of the base. A single runway 6,100' x 100' surfaced with crushed coral was built running SSE to NNW.

The RNZAF arrived in May 1945.  It consisted of two squadrons of Corsairs and one of Ventures. Thanks to John Mairs of 17th Field Company RAE for additional information.

RAAF Units based at Jacquinot Bay
79 Squadron - briefly based before deploying to Borneo June 1945
NEIAF - fighter squadron briefly based until June 1945

RNZAF units based at Jacquinot Bay
21 Squadron (Corsair) Nissan May 18 - July 2, 1945
20 Squadron (Corsair) Nissan May 20(29) - August 1945
3 Squadron (Ventura) Nissan June 9 - June 28, 1945
19 Squadron (Corsair) Los Negros mid July - October 1945
2 Squadron (Venturas) NZ end June - September 1945
3 Service Unit arrived May 19, 1945 by LST
14 Service Unit arrived late May
30 Service Unit arrived mid July

By July 1945, the airfield offered limited facilities, plus weather, fuel, oil and minor repair services. The runway was under RNZAF control, with ASV beacon navigation aids.

Japanese Aircraft Surrender
At the end of the war, several Japanese aircraft in surrender markings were flown from Vunakanau Airfield to Jacquinot Bay Airfield. On August 18, 1945 the first flight included Ki-46 Dinah 2783, A6M5 Zero 4043, A6M5 Zero 4444 and A6M5 Zero 3479. On October 14, 1945 the second flight included B5N2 Kate Tail 302 and E13A Jake 4326.

Today
The airfield is still in use today by regional airlines.

Dennis Peterson visited in 2003 with his father (WWII veteran):
"We flew over the airport at Jacquinot Bay, has a bitumen runway with a modern terminal built for the local MP but now doesn't get much traffic."

PBJ Mitchell Bureau Number 35075
Abandoned at the airfield

F4U-1 Corsair NZ5262
Pilot Howlett crashed July 23, 1945

PV-1 Ventura Serial Number NZ4632
Ground looped on July 14, 1945 abandoned at the airfield

Aircraft Wrecks Formally at Jacquinot Bay
The following wrecks were formally at Jacquinot Bay . During the 1970s, two Zero wrecks were salvaged.

A6M5 Model 52 Zero 4043 Tail 3-108
Flown to surrender August 18, 1945, recovered during the 1970s Australia, today Weeks

A6M5 Model 52 Zero 4444
Flown to surrender August 18, 1945 recovered during the 1970s Australia, to Japan

During July 2003 the Kate and Dinah plus F4U parts were salvaged by '75 Squadron' and barged to Lae and containered for shipment to Melbourne, Australia.  This was halted by the PNG Museum and a court battle ensued until 2005. In the end, both were indeed exported.

Ki-46-II Dinah 2783
Surrendered August 18, 1945 salvaged July 2003 to Lae

B5N2 Kate Tail 302
Flown to surrender October 14, 1945 salvaged July 2003 to Lae

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Last Updated
January 9, 2018

 

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